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U.s. 36, Us 31, United States 30, Paul 12, Grassley 12, Fbi 10, S&p 8, Washington 8, Afghanistan 7, America 7, Mr. Graham 7, Mccain 7, Mr. Mccain 6, Obama 5, Feinstein 5, Leahy 5, Pakistan 4, Mr. Schwartz 4, Iraq 4, Mr. Durbin 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    March 7, 2013
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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passion. that's a great thing. this is an important issue. we should be talking about it. i welcome a reasoned discussion. but to my republican colleagues, i don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting that president bush was going to kill anybody with a drone. you? -- you know, i don't evenremembf president bush on the other side. they had a drone program back then. all of a sudden this drone program has gotten every republican so spun up. what are we up to here? i think president obama has -- in many ways he has been a very failed president. i think his executive orders overstep. i think he has intruded into the congressional arena by executive order. there is a failed presidency. but there's also some agreement. people are astonished that president obama, senator
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mccain, is doing many of the things that president bush did. i'm not astonished. i congratulate him for having the good judgment to understand we're at war. and to my party, i'm a bit disappointed that you no longer apparently think we're at war. not senator paul. he's a man to himself. he has a view that i don't think is a republican view. i think it's a legitimately held libertarian view. you've got to remember senator paul was the one senator who voted against a resolution that said the policy of the united states will not be to contain a nuclear-capable iran. it was 90-1. to his credit, he felt like that would be provocative and it may lead to a military conflict. he'd rather have a nuclear-capable iran than use military force. and he said so, to his credit. 90 of us thought we would like not to have a military conflict
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with iran, but we're not going to contain a nuclear-capable iran, senator mccain, because it's impossible. what would happen is if iran got a nuclear weapon, the sunni arab states would want a nuclear weapon, and most of us believe they would share the technology with the terrorists that would wind up attacking israel anded united states. it's not so much i fear a missile coming from iran. i fear if they got a nuclear weapon or nuclear technology they would give it to some terrorist organization like they gave i.e.d.'s to shia militia in iraq. and they would wreak havoc on the world. we don't believe in containing, letting them having it and trying to contain it because we think their soerbs with terrorism -- their association with terrorism is too long and too deep. but senator paul, to his credit, was okay with that. i just disagree with him. as to what he's saying about the drone program, he has come our
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way some -- and i want to appreciate that. before he had some doubt in his mind as to whether or not we should have killed anwar al-alwaki in yemen, an american citizen who had collaborated with al qaeda, who radicalized major has san, involved in planning terrorist attacks against u.s. forces throughout the region. president obama was informed through the military intelligence community channels of al-alwaki's existence, all the videos he made supporting jihad and killing americans, and he, as commander in chief designated this person as enemy combatant. mr. president, you did what you had the authority to do, and i congratulate you for making that informed decision and the process to get on this target list is very rigorous. i think sometimes almost too rigorous. but now apparently senator paul says it's okay to kill him
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because we have a photo of him with an r.p.g. on his shoulder. he's moved the ball. he's saying now that he wants this president to tell him that he will not use a drone to kill an american citizen sitting in a cafe having a cup of coffee who is not a combatant. i find the question offensive. as much as i disagree with president obama, as much as i support past presidents, i do not believe that question deserves an answer, because as senator mccain said, this president is not going to use a drone against a noncombatant sitting in a cafe anywhere in the united states, nor will future presidents, because if they do, they will have committed an act of murder. noncombatants under the law of war are protected, not subject
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to being killed randomly. so to suggest that the president won't answer that question somehow legitimizes that the drone program is going to result in being used against anybody in this room having a cup of coffee, to me, cheapens the debate and is something not worthy of -- mr. mccain: could i ask my colleague a question, especially on that subject? a lot of our friends, particularly senator paul and others, pride themselves on their strict adherence to the constitution and the decisions of the supreme court. isn't it true that as a result of an attack on long island during world war ii that an american citizen, among others, was captured and hung on american soil? and the united states supreme court upheld that execution
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because that individual was an enemy combatant? is that established without a doubt? the fact that these are enemy combatants, and no matter where they are, they are subject to the -- to the form of justice as the terrorist in world war ii was? mr. graham: it's been a long-held concept in american jurisprudence that when an american citizen sides with the enemies of our nation, they can be held, captured and treated as an enemy combatant. they have committed an act of war against our country, not a common crime. so in world war ii, you had german saboteurs land in long island. they had been planning and training in germany to blow up a lot of infrastructure, and some of it i think was in chicago. so they had this fairly elaborate bran to attack us.
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they -- elaborate plan to attack us. they landed in long island. the plan was to have american citizens sympathetic to the nazi cause -- german origin, most of them -- to meet them and provide them shelter and comfort. well, the f.b.i. back then broke that plot up, and they were arrested. the american citizens were tried by military commission, and they were found guilty, and a couple of them were executed. now there's been a case in the war on terror where an american citizen was captured in afghanistan. our supreme court reaffirmed the proposition that we can hold one of our own as an enemy combatant when they align themselves with the forces against this country. this congress, right after the september 11 attacks, designated authorization to use military force against al qaeda and affiliated groups. so the congress has given every president since 9/11 the authority to use military force
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against al qaeda and affiliated groups, and american citizens like anwar al-alwaki, the guy hamdi that was captured in afghanistan has been treated as enemy combatants. if president obama does that, he's doing nothing new or novel. what would be novel is for us to say is that if a terrorist cell came to the united states, an al qaeda cell, was operating in the united states, that's a common law and the law of war doesn't apply. it would be the most reverse situation in the world for the congress to say that the united states itself is a terrorist safe haven when it comes to legal rights, that we can blow you up with a drone overseas, we can capture you in afghanistan, put you -- hold you under the law of war. but if there is a terrorist cell operating in the united states, somehow you're a common criminal. we read you your miranda rights. and i just had this one thing to get senator mccain's thought,
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i hope you realize that hypothetically there are patriot missile batteries all over washington that could interdict an airplane coming to attack this capitol or the white house or other vital government facilities. i hope you understand senator mccain that there are f-15's and f-16's on three- to five-minute alert all up and down the east coast. and if there is a vessel coming in to the united states where a plane's been hijacked or a ship's been hijacked, loaded with munitions or the threat is real that they've taken over a craft and are about to attack us, i hope all of us would agree using military force in that situation is not only lawful under the authorization to use military force, it's within the inherent authority of the commander in chief to protect us all. mr. mccain: and should not be
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construed as an authority to kill somebody in a cafe. mr. graham: it should be construed as a reasonable ability to defend the homeland against a real threat. and the question is: do you feel threatened anymore? i do. i think al qaeda is alive and well. and to all those who have been fighting this war for a very long time, multiple tours in iraq and afghanistan, you tried to keep the war over there so it doesn't come here. to the failed plots that have been broken up by the c.i.a. and the f.b.i., god bless you. we've got to be right every time. they only have to be right once. and if you think the homeland is not in the desire of al qaeda, it is absolutely on the top of their list, and they're recruiting american citizens to their cause. and unfortunately, a few will probably go over to their side. thank god it will be just a few. but to take this debate into the absurd is what i object to. we can have reasonable
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disagreements about the regulatory nature of a drone program should be under the department of defense. what kind of oversight congress should have. i think that's a really good discussion, and i'd like to work with senator durbin and others to craft some -- the detainee treatment act is where congress got involved with the executive branch to come up with a way to better handle the detainee issue. but the one thing i've been consistent about is i believe there's one commander in chief, not 535. and i believe this commander in chief and all future commander in chiefs are unique in our constitution and have an indispensable role to play when it comes to protecting the homeland. and if we have 535 commanders in chief, then we're going to be less safe. and if you turn over military decisions to courts, then you've done, i think, the ultimate harm to our nation. you've criminalized the war, and i don't think our judiciary wants that. so as much as i disagree with president obama, i think you
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have been responsible in the use of the drone program overseas. i think you have been thorough in your analysis. i'd like to make it more transparent. i'd like to have more oversight. as to the accusation being leveled against you that if you don't somehow answer this question, we're to assume you're going to use a drone, or your administration or future administrations would to kill somebody who is a noncombatant, no intelligence to suggest, they're an enemy combatant sitting at a cafe by a hellfire missile -- i had one thought. if there is an al qaeda operative u.s. citizen who is helping the al qaeda cause in a cafe in the united states, we don't want to blow up the cafe. we want to go in there and grab the person for intelligence purposes. the reason we're using drones in afghanistan and pakistan, we don't have any military presence along the tribal border.
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the reason we're having to use drones is we can't capture people. the preference is to capture them, not to kill them. but there are certain areas where they operate that the only way we can get to them is through a drone strike. and i would say this -- mr. mccain: could i just say to my friend, there is scenarios where there could be an extreme situation where there is a direct threat. we could draw many scenarios. a bomb-laden, explosive-laden vehicle headed for the nuclear power plant where the president of the united states may have to use any asset that the president has in order to prevent an impending catastrophic attack on the united states of america. and that is not without -- that is within the realm of possible scenarios. so to somehow say that we would kill people in cafes and, therefore, drone strikes should never be used under any
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circumstances, i believe is a distortion of the realities of the threats we face. as we are speaking, there are people who are plotting to attack the united states of america. we know that. and at the same time we are ready, as you said, to discuss, debate, and frame legislation which brings us up to date with a new kind of war that we are in. but to somehow have a debate and a discussion that we would have killed jane fonda does, in my view, a disservice to the debate that needs to be -- and discussion that needs to be conducted. mr. graham: that's a very good point. i look forward to a discussion about how to deal with a drone program. it's just a tactical weapon. it is an air platform without a pilot. now, if there is a truck going toward a military base or nuclear power plant, we've got a lot of assets to interdict that truck.
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maybe you don't need the f-16. but i guarantee you if there is a hijacked aircraft coming to the capitol, that the president of the united states would be well in his rights to order the patriot missile battery to shoot that plane down or to have an f-16 shoot it down. and we're ready for that, by the way. and i would just suggest one thing. the number of americans killed in the united states by drones is zero. the number of americans killed in the united states by al qaeda is 2,958. the reason it's not 2 million, 20 million or 200 million is because they can't get the weapons to kill that many of us. the only reason it's 2,958 is because their weapons of choice couldn't kill more. their next weapon of choice is not going to be a hijacked airplane, i fear. it's going to be some nuclear technology or chemical weapon, a
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weapon of mass destruction. that's why we have to be on our guard. and when you capture someone who's associated with al qaeda, the best thing is to hold them for interrogation purposes, because we found bin laden not through torture, my friend. we found bin laden through a decade of putting the puzzle together. and senator durbin, senator mccain, both of you were i think effective advocates that we have to live within our values and when we capture somebody we're going to hold them under the law of war, we're going to exploit intelligence but we're going to do it within the laws that we've signed up to like the geneva convention, the convention against torture. so to my friends on this side of the aisle -- mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. graham: absolutely. mr. durbin: to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle it was 12 hours ago i was standing here, a lonely voice among
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others who were discussing this issue bringing up the points that you raise. the first is the drone is a weapon. there are many weapons that can deliver lethal force. we should view this as an issue of lethal force, not an issue of drones per se, although it may raise some particular questions and application. it is largely a question of lethal force. the second question has been raised by the senator from -- both senators. what if the fourth airplane had not been brought down by the passengers? what if that plane were headed for this capitol building and all other planes had been landed across america under orders of our government and we knew this plane was the fourth plane in control of the terrorists? what authority did president bush have as commander in chief at that moment? i don't think anyone would question, he had the authority to use lethal force to stop the terrorists from using that plane as a fourth weapon against the united states. and i don't think -- there was
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no debate last night about that particular point. this notion -- and i'm glad this point has been raised -- that we are somehow going to use drones to kill people sipping coffee in cafes is ludicrous. it is absurd. it goes beyond the obvious. we need those people. bringing those people into our control gives us more information and secondly, i mean for goodness' sakes, the collateral damage of something that brutish would be awful. so i thank you for putting it in perspective. i think that attorney general holder could have been more artful in his language yesterday but at the end of the day even senator cruz acknowledged he said it would be unconstitutional to use this kind of lethal force if there wasn't an imminent threat pending against the united states. mr. mccain: an imminent threat. we may have to do a little better job of defining that, but say imminent threat, would then translate into killing somebody in a cafe is -- is not
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a mature debate or discussion. mr. graham: if i could add, let me tell you about imminent threat in military law. in iraq, you had disabled terrorists, insurgents, and there was a big debate in the marine corps because under military law when a lawful combatant, a person in uniform, has been disabled, and it doesn't present an imminent threat, you don't have the ability to shoot them. okay. the terrorists in iraq put i.e.d.'s on wounded belligerents, unlawful enemy combatants so the marine corps wrestled very long and hard with the rules of engagement. if you saw somebody, come upon somebody who was wounded who apparently was disabled, under what circumstances could you use
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lethal force because they may be booby-trapped? to the marine corps' credit, they came up with a balance between who we are, we just don't shoot even our enemies who are helpless and wounded and the ability for force protection. here's what i would say about the circumstance in question. the process of determining who an enemy combatant is has always been a military process. it's not a congressional debate. our committees do not get a list of names and we make a vote on whether or not we think they're an enemy combatant. courts don't have trials over who an enemy combatant is. if there's a question about enemy combatant status under the geneva convention you're entitled to a single hearing officer and that's all. in world war ii, there were a lot of people captured in german uniform who claimed they were made to wear the uniform by the germans, and all of them had a hearing on the battlefield by a single officer. it has been long held in
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military law that as a military decision, not a judicial decision or legislative decision to determine the enemy of the nation. so president obama has really taken this far beyond what was envisioned. this administration has a very elaborate process to determine who should be determined to be an enemy combatant. i think it's thorough, i think it has many checks and balances and as much as i disagree with this president on many issues, i would never dream of taking that right away from him because he is the same person, the commander in chief, whoever he or she may be in the future, that we give the authority to order american citizens in battle where they may die. he has the authority to pick up a phone, senator mccain, and say you will launch today. and you may not come back. i can't imagine a congress who is okay with the authority to order an american citizen in battle, we don't want to take that away from him, i hope,
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this uncomfortable with the same person determining who the enemy we face may be. as to american citizens, here's the law. if you collaborate with al qaeda or their affiliates, and you're engaged in helping the enemy, you're subject to being captured or killed under the law of war. what is an imminent threat? the day that you associate yourself with al qaeda and become part of their team, everywhere you go and everything you do presents a threat to the country. so why do we shoot people walking down a road in pakistan? they don't have a weapon, there's no military person in front of them that's threatened. the logic is that once you join al qaeda, you're a de facto imminent threat because the organization you're supporting is a threat. so for someone to suggest we got to let them walk down the road,
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go pick up a gun and head toward our soldiers before you can shoot them is not very healthy for the soldier they're trying to kill and it would be a total distortion of law as it exists. back here at home, and i'll conclude. mr. durbin: if the senator would allow one last comment and i thank you for the statement on the floor from both of my colleagues. the judiciary committee subcommittee on constitution is going to have a hearing, already scheduled, on this issue of drones. and there are legitimate questions to be raised and answered. and i might add that my conversations with the president, he welcomes this. he has invited us to come up with a legal architecture to make certain it is consistent with existing precedent in military law and other court cases as well as our constitution. and i think that is a healthy environment for to us have this hearing and invite all points of view and try to come up with a reasonable conclusion. mr. graham: i could not welcome that more. it worked with the military commissions act, i just think
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it's the right way to go. mr. durbin: if i can make one unanimous consent request before i leave. madam president, i have eight unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during the session of the senate with the approval of the majority and minority leaders, i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i think that concludes our discussion, but i would agree with the senator from illinois and my colleague from south carolina, we need hearings, we need to discuss how we conduct this -- the united states in what appears to be for all intents and purposes an interminable conflict we are in and we have to adjust to it. but that conversation should not be talking about drones killing jane fonda and people in cafes. it should be all about what authority and what checks and balances should exist in order to make it a most effective
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ability to combat an enemy that we know will be with us for a long time. mr. graham: if i could have two minutes to wrap up, i will. to my fellow citizens, the chance of you being killed by a drone because you go to a tea party rally or move on.org rally or any other political rally or you're just chatting on the internet, quietly at home, by your government, through the use of a drone, is zero. under this administration and future administrations. and if that day ever happened, the president of the united states or whoever ordered such attack would have committed murder and would be tried. i don't worry about that. here's what i worry about. that al qaeda, who has killed 2,958 of us, is going to add to
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the total if we let our guard down. and i will do everything in my power to protect this president, who i disagree with a lot, and future presidents, from having an ill-informed congress take over the legitimate authority under the constitution and the laws of this land to be the commander in chief on behalf of all of us, as to any american citizen thinking about joining up with al qaeda at home or abroad, you better think twice because here's what's going to come your way. if we can capture you, we will. you will be interrogated, you will go before a federal judge, and one day you will go before a court. and you will have a lot of legal rights, but if you're found guilty, he would be unto you.
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-- woe be unto you. and here's another possibility. if you join with these thugs and these nuts to attack your homeland, and if we have no ability to capture you, we will kill you. and we will do it because you made us. and the process of determining whether or not you have joined al qaeda is not going to be some federal court trial, it's not going to be a committee meeting in the congress because if we put those conditions on our ability to defend ourselves we cannot act in real time. bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, i think we're at war. i think we're at war with an enemy who would kill us all if we could and every war america has been in, we've recognized the difference between fighting crime and fighting a war. and if you believe as i do, we're at war, those who aid our
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enemies are not going to be treated as if they robbed a liquor story. they're going to be treated as the military threat they are. mr. mccain: madam president, i thank my colleagues and i also thank the senator from illinois for his engagement and in closing i'd like to congratulate my friend from south carolina for his really best behavior last night at dinner. he was on his best manners and he was on his best manners and
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mid mid mid more with noble prize winner sunday night also doeses the effect of sequester spending cuts on federal law enforcement agencies. the hearing is lead by committee chairman. it's two and a half hours. [inaudible] the attorney general is here, and we'll -- the session will be in order.
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mr. attorney general, if you'll join us, please. [inaudible conversations] and because the session has begun, nobody will stand and block people behind them. this is a meeting of the united states senate judiciary committee. everybody here is a guest of the senate. we expect you to be aware of all of your fellow guests, and i realize some have differing views, everybody has an opportunity to be here. i would hope that knob would so arrogant they would feel that they should have the ability to
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view and block the view of others. this week is the anniversary of bloody sunday when marchers were beaten by state troopers as they attempted to cross a bridge. the attorney general holder spoke this weekend about living up to our founding ideals. the law as we know, protects the rights of all americans. that's what the attorney general and jussist is dedicated to doing. in 2009, the attorney general worked with us in congress to pass landmark hate crimes legislation to address crimes committed against americans because of race, ethnicity, sexual or jenation, or gender identity. i'm glad to see the justice
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department is enforcing the law. and this week, the president will sign a historic legislation building upon the violence against women act. and the traffic and victims protection act implemented -- to protect all victims of abuse. and i know that justice department will implement those laws. and the justice department -- provided by section 5 of the voting rights act to ensure that all americans have the right to vote and their votes matter. this committee played a key role in reauthorizing the voting rights act six years ago. after nearly twenty hearings, thousand of pages of testimony, before the house and senate judiciary committee we found that modern day voting barriers exist in our country. we passed the bill and president bushed signed the current
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extension. i remember talking with president bush that day and how proud he was to be signing it, and that republicans and democrats had come together to craft that legislation because of its need. i commend the attorney general and fbi director and all of those working to keep americans safe. the the attack in 9/11 -- i think senator grassley want to -- i thank the attorney general for reaching out not only to me but senator grassley on issues of national security. it's been remarkable, -- accountable and commendable.
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i remain troubled the committee has not received the materials requested for the targeted kill of united states citizens overseas. my frustrating and waning patience, the -- should have been provided. members of the committee, i'm glad at least to see it was provided to senator feinstein's intelligence committee. but i think that some of the votes that will perhaps be cast against a nominee that come out of her committee, because of the inability to get that memo here. it's our responsibility to make sure the tools used by our government and consistent with our constitution. we work together effectively and help keeps americans safe from crime, and help crime victims rebuild their lives.
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i worked to strengthen federal law enforcement to support state and local law enforcement. and crime rates have experienced a historic decline despite the struggling economy. i remember a hearing senator koontz had in delaware, where we saw police, parole office -- officers, and members of the community coming together saying we have to work hard to fight crime. senator grassley and i drafted a bill together. antifraud provision is an important part of the dodd-frank wall street reform act. the department has broken records over the last several years for criminal and fraud recoveries.
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in narcs the 50th anniversary of the supreme court decision, which affirmed that no person should face prosecution without the assistance of -- i remember as a young lawyer reading the book of that gideon's trumpet, and how much that impressed me. i'm encouraged by the justice's department's access to justice. we need to do more. i was glad to see the announcement to standardize and improve signs across the country and incorporate idea -- and i appreciate the attorney general joining me in recognizing the mounting problem of our growing prison population. devastating consequences,
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shrinking budget, it's a human cause. we have to find more constructive ways to solve turning away from excessive sentences and mandatory -- attorney general holder was confirmed four years ago. the department was -- reeling scandal. since that time, the credibility of the justice department among the american people is very important -- throughout the country increased dramatically. i'm glad to see the morale of the hard working agents, professionals. many have been there from republican and democratic administrations has improved considerable belie. again, i apologize for the allergies and the voice, but . >> before i speak, could you inform us how you'll handle it when we vote?
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>> oh. senator grassley raised a good point. apparently we have a vote scheduled for what -- 10:30? i would encourage us to obviously somebody -- i think for the sake of time we keep the committee meeting going and try to get out and vote as quickly as possible and come back as quickly as possible. >> i'll have to go sometime first for short remarks on the issue before we vote on it. >> you and me both. >> go ahead. >> welcome, general holder. this hearing affords us opportunity to clear the deck on many outstanding letters and questions we have yet to receive from the department. example we haven't received questions for the records from the last oversight hearing held nine months ago. we also have questions for the record from department officials that testified at various hearings that remain
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outstanding. in addition, there are number of inquiry that haven't received a response on important issues. i can't go through all of them. an example i haven't received a response to a letter i sent last week on the impact of budget sequester. another letter outstanding on the failure to prosecute individuals that hsbc for money-laundering. that one was sent in december. finally, i have an outstanding request related to investigation fast and furious including one that will be outstanding for a year, march 9. it's unfortunate we have to start hearings with the same request of attorney general to respond on unanswered questions. that said, i have a number of topics that i want to discuss with the attorney general including the latest letter to senator paul arguing in favor of the president's ability to use military force to kill american united states on u.s. soil
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without due process of law. this letter is extremely concerning. not just in the content but coupled with the classified them random that have been shared with a few member much congress and has many questions for americans. it comes on the heels of an extremely important hearing before house judiciary on the topic of targeted killing of americans using unmanned drones. this is an issue which chairman leahy referred to and i have asked repeatedly the attorney general about. unfortunately, our letters on the matter have also gone unanswered including our most recent letter to president obama seeking access to classified memos. authorizing the killings of americans abroad produced to members of the select committee but not member of the judiciary and the chairman also made reference to that.
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a couple of weeks ago at the committee executive business session held in the u.s. cap doll building, i joined chairman leahy, senator fine feinstein in obtaining the document as part of the legitimate oversight function. despite opinion of the administration congress has a significant role to play in conducting oversight and national security matters. we have the right to ask for and receive classified information through appropriate channels and subject to protections. to determine if the activities of the executive branch are appropriate. this committee has precedent of obtaining the most highly classified information within the government. example, in reauthorizing an overseeing the fisa amendment act. we obtained and continue to regarding operation of the important function. similarly, we obtained
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classified information during the reauthorization of the u.s.a. patriot act, and as part of the oversight conducted by the committee reviewing the enhanced integration tk anemic and the role olc played in issuing the memos. in light of the march 4, 2013, letter to senator rand paul, where the attorney general argued that the president could authorize the military to use lethal force on u.s. citizens on u.s. soil in an effort to protect the u.s. from catastrophic attack, it's imperative we understand the operational bound drink for use of such force. the letter deals with what is labeled, quote, unquote, extraordinary circumstances, american citizens have a right to understand with when their life can be taken by the government as to due process. providing these for review would go a long way with complying
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with the president's election promise to have the most transparent administration ever. i'll move to another issue gun violence. we held three hearings on the topic over the past two months and twice heard from the justice department witnesses. both times the department testified we heard a reinterration of the department's support of a ban on semiautomatic rifles with certain cosmetic features deemed assault rifles. however, both times when i asked whether the department had issued an official opinion determining whether a ban is constitutional under the 2nd amendment in light of the heller case, i heard that no opinion has been issued. given that we are marking up the bills tomorrow, it would be good to hear from the attorney general that he will be releasing such an opinion today so members would have time to read it in advance of tomorrow's markup. on another subject, to discuss the department's continued
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failure to criminally prosecute those commit fraud and wrong doing at large football firms. as a result, these companies settle for pennys on the dollar and the cost of these become the cost of doing business for the institutions. it is lead many to believe that financial institutions to big to fail by the treasury department are also too big to jail. what is even more disturbing is that while this distinction was mostly reserved for financial crimes, a portion -- a position i find flawed in the own regard, this policy appears to have seeped in to other misconduct enforced by the department. example, december 2012, the department entered to a deferred protection agreement. dpa with the bank hsbc. that's an -- violating federal laws, designed to prevent drug lords and terroristing from laundering
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money in the united states. let me repeat the deferred prosecution agreement for a company involved in money-laundering for drug lords and terrorists. i sent a letter to the attorney general expressing my outrage at the dpa on december 30, i ask why no employees not even the ones who turned off the antimoney-laundering filters were prosecuted. further senator browne and i sent a letter seeking the racial for why no individuals at the large financial institutions were prosecuted. the response was wholeful and failed to answer our questions leading us to request whether the department has something to hide. simply put, it's a leadership problem and one that needs to be ticketed and fixed quickly. it will be a big part of any effort to confirm a new assistant attorney general for the criminal division. i want to hear from the attorney general about a concerning new
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study issued by the government accountability office. i ask gao request the -- luxury jets by department executives for nonmission travel. some which included personal travel. the department executives reimbursed the government for part of the trip but only the cost of regular coach fare. it's slight i less than the tens of thousand of dollars and hour that the planes cost. that report found that between fiscal year twech, which was obviously in the bush year, to fiscal year 2011, the department's executive not mission travel for the luxury jets total 60% of the flight time. these flights accounted for 11 and -- expenditure for nonmission travel. nobody has any argument with the use of the planes or the necessity of the planes for mission travel. in light of sequester, and the general dire fiscal situation
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the federal government faces, this travel was concerning. yet, it was especially concerning given that the justification provided to congress in 2010 was for counterterrorism missions. while the attorney general and the fbi director are now both required to use travelers, meaning they are required by executive branch policy to take government aircraft for even personal travel gao found that until recently that the fbi director had the discretion to use commercial air service for personal traves which he elected to do most of the time to save use of government funds. this report races a number of troubling questions especially in light of the proposed spending reduction because of the sequester. most pressing should the executive at the department be using of these planes for nonmission travel for on a jet purchased for counterterrorism missions? i yield the floor. i have more to say.
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but i've said enough. [laughter] >> we will -- and again, i would add -- i realize some in the audience feel committed to their position, and feel that whatever their position is probably more important than anybody sitting here. i ask not to block other people. this is an important open hearing. we welcome everybody whether you agree with us or not. i think we have a responsibility to the people. and that they also may feel they have an important reason for being here. mr. attorney general, earlier this week i worked to introduce a problem of firearm trafficking and purchasing. i think we agree the current law needs to be strengthening and
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fix and make it too -- for drug trafficking operations to obtain guns. do you agree there's a -- need for specific statutes criminalizing gun trafficking and straw purchasing? >> yes, mr. chairman, there is no question there is a need for a stand alone trafficking bill. what we now have is a hodgepodge where people straw purchasers buy guns for other people. reonly able to prosecute them what we call paper violations that are both inadequate and not likely to induce cooperation from people we are charging. the stand alone trafficking bill is something we support. >> mr. attorney general, i realize -- i can't claim this, i'm new to the committee. i forgot to give you a chance to the opening statement. please give your opening statement.
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[laughter] [laughter] okay. chairman leahy, ranking member grassley, and members, i appreciate the opportunity to provide an overview of the justice department's recent achievement and the accomplishment that my colleagues the 116,000 dedicated men and women that serve in officers around the world have made possible. i look forward to working with you to take our critical effort to a new level. before we begin the discussion, i must acknowledge that debt our nation owes to three correctional workers employed by the federal bureau of prisons over the last week and a half have made the sacrifice. officer eric williams, gregory, and lieutenant. as attorney general, and also as a brother of a retiremented police officer. i'm determined to ensure that those responsibility for the acts that lead to the death was these three brave individuals
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are brought to justice. we're committed to honor the service of these and other fallen officers by doing everything in our power to keep the women and men in law enforcement safe and continue the work that became a cause of their lives. in the regard, i'm proud to record that the department is made tremendous progress in combating violent crime, algding financial fraud, upholding the civil rights, safe guarding the most vulnerable member of our society and protecting l american people from terrorism and other threats. particularly since the horrific tragedy in december,. it has come to sharp focus. i joined vice president biden and a number of my fellow cabinet members to reduce gun violation to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those prohibited for having them and making our neighbors and schools more secure. in january, president obama announced a comprehensive plan
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that includes a series of 23 executive actions of the justice department and other agencies working to implement and arrange a common sense legislative proposals. this morning i'm pleased to join the president and vice president, and countless americans in calling on congress to enact legislation addressing gun violence. including measures to require universal background checks to impose tough penalties on gun traffickers, as i indicated, to protect law enforcement officers by addressing armor-persing ammunition. to ban high capacity magazines and military style assault weapons and eliminate miss guided restriction that require federal agencies to aimportation of dangerous weapons because of their age. i'm pleased to echo the president's call for the senate to confirm todd jones as to the director of bureau of alcohol, firearm, and explosive. a critical justice department
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which has been without a head for six years. in addition to the administration's effort to reduce gun violence. we are main focused on in all the form. we are determined combat domestic violence as well. strengthen this work i applaud congress for passing a reauthorization of the violence against women act. it transformed the way we respond to domestic violence i'm pleased the bill will close a loophole that left many native american women without adequate protection. the justice department looks bard to implementing this. we dmoit move in a range of ways to become smarter and tougher on crimes. thanks to the employee and partners we have achieved extraordinary result and nowhere has it been in to drk to protect national security.
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the department has brought cases and secured conviction against numerous terrorists we have identified and disrupted. article three, or the article three court's work. and we have worked to combat emerging national security threats such as cyber intrusion and attacks districted against our system and infrastructure by nation, state, and demonstrate actor including terrorist group. last summer the department created the name security -- to spearhead the efforts. the network is comprised upon other cyber specialists across the country who will work closely the fbi and other partners to investigate malicious cyber activity. seek any necessary cooperation, and froapt bring criminal prosecutions as part of our government wide effort to deter and disrupt cyberthreats to our national security. beyond the work, the department has taken significant steps to
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ensure robust enforcement of ain't trust law, to protect the environment, to address financial and health care fraud crimes. in cooperation with the department of health and human services, and others over the last fiscal year alone we secured a record $2.4 billion in recovery related to health care fraud and abuse. as a result to our commitment to achieve justice on behalf of the deepwater horizon spill, january we secured a guilty plea and $4 billion criminal fine and penalties from bp and february the court approved a settlement requiring transocean to pay $1.4 billion in fines and penalties. on february 25, we commenced trial of the civil claims against. and others. we are working closely with federal, state, and local authorities to take our fight against fraud targeting consumers, investors, an
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consumers to new heights. thanks to task force leaders and the parter ins we have filed a 10,000 financial fraud cases against 15,000 defendants energying more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendant. last month they filed a civil suit against the credit rating agency standard and seeking $5 billion in damage in conduct. it goes to heart of the recent economic crisis. we're striving to boost the capacity of our law enforcement allies and provide access to the tools, training, and equipment they need in order to do their job as safely and effectively as possible and we're working with them to promote the highest standards of integrity across every agency, department, and sheriff's office. this commitment to integrity and to equal justice under the law has drink the department's civil right division in an effort to address intimidation, self-incrimination, and bias to
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the lending market, schools, workplaces, border areas but also to our voting booths. since 2009, the commission that is filed more criminal civil rights cases than ever before including record numbers of human trafficking and police misconduct cases. we have also lead efforts to implement the matthew shepard and jamesbird hate crimes act which -- on behalf of americans who are targeted because of the gender and sexual orientation, gender identity, or dpaibility. we are fighting to preserve the opportunity of just in this case shaped our nation's past. as congress considers ways to make fair and effective changes to america's immigration system. the same principles, i believe, must guide our efforts to strengthen the border. they must don't inform our actions as we adjudicate immigration cases, and hold
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accountable employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. so this morning my colleagues and i stand ready to work with leaders from both parties to achieve lasting reform, strengthen our ability to keep everyone in the country and especially our young people safe and move forward in protecting the american people and achieving the priority we share. i must know that our ability to complete this work and continue building upon the progress that i have just outlining will be severely hampered unless congress adopts a balanced plan and ends the untenable reduction that set in motion to cause cut $1.6 billion of the department's budget. they have having a significant negative impact not just on department employees but programs that could impact the safety of americans across the country. our capacity to respond to
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crimes, investigate wrong doing and hold considerables accountable has been reduced and despite our best effort to limit the impact of sequestration unless congress passes a balance deficit reduction plan. the effect of the cut on the entire justice system and the american people may be profound. i urge congressional leaders to act swiftly to restore the funding the department needs to fulfill the critical mission and keep our citizens safe. i thank you, mr. chairman, and i look forward to answering any of your questions. >> i apologize again for the question. after watching the clock we have to go to speak on the -- and nominations. i said when i leave for that, senator feinstein will take the gavel. you mentioned the cuts $1.6 billion across the board. obviously i worry what it's going to do to critical grant programs, small rural states
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like vermont depend upon. i don't mean that to be parochial, but in a smaller areas in rural areas and every state, all fifty of our states, as a disproportionate effect. i hope you would be able to continue -- the program bulletproof vest partnership program, the victim assistance program. >> yeah. we will try to do the best that we can. this is a $1.6 billion cut. it's 9% out of our budget over the course of 7 month finance will take $100 million out of grant making capacity. we will try to minimize the harm and make sure that the mission we have is not comprised. but i have to say, you cannot take $1.6 billion 9% out of the budget and expect us to be as executive as we once were. >> i'm not trying to put words
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in your mouth but is it -- >> i fear that it could. we will try to jury rig things so we have agencies where they ought to be. the reality is people should understand this. if the budget cuts stay in effect, fbi agents, dea allegations, atf agencies, the bureau prisons have to undergo furloughs. they won't be on the job. >> thank you. and we talked about the legal counsel memos untargetted killings. i've been asking for some time, and you and i had discussions about this i realize the decision is not in your hand, but it may be brought to a head with a subpoena from the committee. in your letter to senator paul said earlier this week you left the possibility of usinglet l
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force against american citizens in extraordinary circumstances on u.s. soil. you mention 9/11, pearl harbor, which is not specifically mentioned in the drones. can you agree there's no scenario appropriate to use an armed drone on u.s. oil to strike an american citizens? >> well, what i said in the letter was the government has no intention to carry out any drone strikes in the united states. it's hard to imagine in which that would occur, we have within the united states the ability to use our law enforcement capacity. as i laid out in a speech that i gave at northwestern university with regard to the use of the lethal forces, one of the critical thicks was that the possibility of feasibility of capture was difficult in foreign lands. afghanistan, pakistan, other parts of the middle east. that's not the same thing here in the united states with the possibility of capture is of
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course in -- obviously in the hands. as a result the use of drones from my perspective something that is entirely, entirely hypothetical. what i tried to say in the letter to senator paul was exactly that. >> i understand the -- [inaudible] i may want to meet with you. and discuss particular points and i'll leave at that for the moment rather than going in to classified areas. last year committee reported by -- had a provision authoritied by francken and grassley. based solely on the violation and term of use agreement. and we are concerned some that the -- made inappropriately apply computer fraud and abuse act
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innocuous conduct -- i think i supported the grassley amendment. the view prosecution guidelines for computer fraud and abuse cases and considering revising the guidelines prohibit prosecutions based solely upon conduct involving a violation terms of use agreement. >> i think in the process of trying to look how we are using the tools that congress has given us, and the extent there are issues in enforcement in appropriate uses of statute. we want to correct that. and so as i said, we constantly monitor that and we want to make sure that we use those tools in appropriate ways and ask for jail time, for instance where that is absolutely needed. that is something we can look at. >> thank you.
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the last -- in colorado washington choice to legalize of one ounce of marijuana. plans for cultivation and distribution of the drug. last year i asked the office of national drug control policy how the administration would prioritize resources to determine policy. in light of the choices made by the voters in colorado and washington, knowing there's going to be other states that will do the same thing. are you prepared to announce a federal government's policy and response to the voters of colorado and washington? >> well, i had the opportunity to meet with leadership from colorado and from washington governors. we had a good -- i think communication. we are in the administration at this point considering what federal government's response to those new statutes will be. i expect that we will have an ability to announce what our
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policy is going to be relatively soon. >> i would think that this is simply an editorial comment. if you're going -- because of budget cuts prioritizing on matters, i would suggest your more serious things than minor possession of marijuana. that's a personal view. it's been brought up here, senator senator grassley raised the fact that you and other secretaries are prohibiting from flying commercially for security reasons. a recent gao report confirms that counterterrorism and other missions had take precedent by other travel by you. and previous attorneys general. and you director have complied with the reimbursement in the cases. just so i understand, we talk
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about a number of uses is it true your predecessor used the aircraft for personal travel twice as often as you have? >> yes, that is true. we looked at the number, i took a total of 27 trips categorize as personal. he took a total of my predecessor took a total of 45. one of the things i want to emphasize. they are used first and foremost for mission purposes. if you begin mission purposes as gao has defined it as well as official travel, the planes are used 93% of the time for those two purposes. when i say official travel, that would include trips that i made on the planes to afghanistan, to guantanamo, haiti to talk to caribbean heads of state, to ottawa in order talk about the border issues with the canadian counter part. the notion that the planes are being misused is belied by the
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fact if they are fairly viewed. >> you mention haiti, i was in haiti right after your trip on a government plane with a number of republican and democratic members of congress. and i understand the reasons why they use it there too. i'm given the gavel to senator fine strine and recognizing grassley. [inaudible conversations] who is next? >> good morning, general holder. >> good morning. >> i wrote you a letter on january 18, 2013 about the prosecution of aaron schwartz who was prosecute bid the u.s. attorney's officer in massachusetts for allegedly breaking to the computer network at m. i. t. and downloading
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without authorization thousand of articles from a sub scrix service. he was charged with crimes that would have carried up a penalty up to 35 years in prison and a million dollar fine. super superseeding indictment would have upped the prison time and the fines. as i said, i wrote a letter asking about the prosecution, and raising questions of prosecutorial zeal, i would say even misconduct. if you looked in to that particular matter and reached any conclusion? >> yeah. let me first say that mr. schwartz's death was a tragedy. my sympathy goes out to his family and friends, those close to him. it's a terrible loss. he was a bright young man and had a good future front of him. as i talked to people who looked to the matter, the nudes reports about -- news reports of what he was facing is no the consistent with
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the interaction between the government and mr. schwartz. and a plea offer was made to him of three months before the indictment. this case could have been resolved with a plea of three months. after the indictment an offer was made he could plead and serve four months even after that a range from zero to six months he would be able to argue for a probationary sentence. the government would be able to argue up to a period of six months. there was never an intention for him to go longer to jail than a potentially five month range. that's what the government said specifically to mr. schwartz. those offers were rejected. >> did -- he committed suicide; correct? >> he did. >> the sub subscription service didn't support the prosecution. does it strike you as odd that the government would indict someone for carries that could carry penalties up to 35 years
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in prison and offer a three or four month prison sentence? >> i think that a good use of prosecutorial discretion to look at the conduct. regardless to what the conducts were and fashion a sentence what was consistent with the nature of the conduct. i think those prosecutors did in offering three, four, zero to six was consistent with the cubility. >> you don't consider it a case of prosecutorial overreach or misconduct? >> i don't look at what was charged as much as what was offered and how the case might have been resolved. >> ought suggest if you're an individual american citizens, and you're looking a at criminal charges brought by the united states government with all of the vast resources available to the government, it strikes me as disproportionate and one that is basically being used inappropriately to try to bully
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someone in to pleading guilty to something. that strikes me as rather rather minor. i would appreciate it if you would respond my letter in writing, dated january 18th. i know, senator grassily listed a number of letters your department has not responded to. can you commit to responding to that letter and answering the questions in writing? >> we will get response to the letter. i think it will probably encapsulate what i just said. >> i want to make sure that you have done a thorough investigation to the matter and not just speaking off the cuff. >> it's not the off cuff. >> you have done a thorough information of the matter? >> i think a good examination has been done. the prosecutor would talk to the u.s. attorney was talked 0 to and people in the department were responsible for those inquire. >> one of the reasons i'm
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skeptical because of course you are well aware of the prosecution of senator ted stevens and you yourself decided that the prosecutors in the case overreached withheld information that would have been exsculpt story that should have been divulged under the rule of ethic. i'm concerned that average citizens, if you can call them that like aaron schwartz that don't have status or power in dealing with the federal government could be bullied and obviously we have seen even members of the united states senate like ted stevens on the receiving end of prosecutorial misconduct. it was a view you reached? >> i think the level in that case and the stevens case was not consistent with the high stands i expect of people who work in the justice department. i think that's also an example as well as the numbers i shared with you with regard to
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mr. schwartz's case how the department conducts i.t. and what we do to correct them. as well as i'm attorney general and as long as the information is brought to my attention,ly not hesitate to do what i did in the stevens matter. >> i respect that. unfortunately in both cases both of the men are dead. it's hard to make amention to someone after they are dead. i know, we're going to be taking up various gun legislation, and you have spoke ton that some. i want to ask you, first of all, i have a copy of the speech that you gave to the women's national democratic club january 30th, 1995. i want to quote it and ask you if this is a correct quote. you said it's not enough to have a catchy ad on monday and only do it every monday. we need to do it every day of the week and brainwash people in to thinking about guns in a
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vastly different way. is that correct quote? >> that part is. it's taken out of context. i was talking about young black men who have all kinds of imaging thrown at them. at that time washington, d.c., was murder capital of the country. they see the movies, the use of guns we need to counter those images. i use the term brainwash to get the young black guys to think differently about the possession and use of guns. >> don't you think that a aggressive prosecution of gun crimes is part of the answer as well? it serves as turns to using firearm and committing other crimes? >> absolutely. i think that preventing people from acquireing guns and using them in inappropriate ways. as a superior court judge during that time i saw of ocean of
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young black men who should have been the future they used guns guns inappropriately and killed people what i tried to do as u.s. attorney and as a judge was come up with ways to talk to the young guys and convince theme acquiring guns and using them to sell drugs, rob people was just wrong. inappropriate. in addition to, i think you are right in addition to strongly prosecuting them. when i was a judge i sent people way for possession and use of guns for extended periods of time. i didn't hesitate to do that as a judge. >> fbi figures reveal from 2010 that more than 76,000 people who bought guns failed background checks. we don't know how many have actually committed crimes. we know that the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearm referred 62 cases and federal
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prosecutors declined nearly a third reaching a plea of guilty or guilty verdict in 13 cases. out of 76,000 failed background checks, your department pursued a guilty plea or guilty verdict in just 13 cases. how was that consistent with making violation of the crime deterrence if the likelihood of prosecution is so slight? >> well, primary purpose of the background check system is make sure that people shouldn't have guns don't get them. since 19981.8 million people have been turned away that that regard. of all the federal prosecutions we bring one seventh are gun prosecution. all of the cases where people are denied the opportunity to get a gun are in fact reviewed for prosecution purposes and determinations made as to whether or not they should in fact be prosecuted. one of the things i want to look at, i'll be talking to the u.s.
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attorneys about is whether or not we need to bring more of those cases. if we are going to be really cracking down on gun crime, the number, i think, you know, there are reasonable explanations as to why we have the number. i want to make certain we're prosecuting all the people who we should who have been denied gun -- failing the background check system. >> crime not prosecuted doesn't produce deterrence would you agree with that? >> we have limited resource and we have to figure out where we are going to use the limited resources. one has to look at why the gun was denied and then make a determination whether or not we should use the limited resources to bring a prosecution against the person. >> you didn't answer my question. a crime not prosecuted does not produce the deterrence we would want to prevent other people from committing the similar crimes. >> senator -- i've been dr three minutes and
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23 second over. >> you've been indulgent. >> i've tried. >> with respect to attorney general holder. he didn't an my question. i want a simple answer. >> deterrence comes in a number of forms. some people are deferred by the perspective of jail. other people are deferred by the perspective having filled out a form and having been turned down. you know, it depends on the individual and those are the kinds of factors we take in to account on making determination z as to whether or not a prosecution should be appropriately brought. >> thank you very much, senator. i just want to say, welcome, attorney general holder and thank you for your service. i think it's very apparent that you have a very hard job and a hard time. i just wanted to say something to you as chairman of the intelligence committee on the office of legal counsel opinions. our job is vigorous oversight of the intelligence community. we cannot do this unless we see the legal underpittings for
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certain kinds of activities, particularly clandestine activities. i believe the committee is fully united on that point, both sides. so i believe that the administration is really going have to come to terms with this, and i would like to ask you to spend some time and take good look at it. i have just been sitting here reading the white paper that you said sent to this committee on the subject of lawfulness of the leathful operation districted against the u.s. citizens who is a senior operational leader of al-qaeda, or ab an associated force. it's committee considerable. it's not classified. and the fact of the matter is, 16-page very thoughtful, very impressive opinion. and yet it can't go in to the public domain. i can't ask you about even here
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about some of the factors of this opinion, and i think that is a mistake. thing the world that we're now living in is so different and so imprecease that the legal underpittings for action are important. it's one thing for a president to ask for a legal opinion prior to it something that is ongoing. maybe even ongoing. it seems to me that after wards we should have the opportunity to assess the legality of that, and if necessary if it isn't legal, be able to clarify law, change law, do whatever a constitutional legislative body does. so i would just ask you to take a look at this. we have now -- well, i got a note.
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it has been released now because it was leaked first. [laughter] >> that's one way of getting it out. >> yeah, i mean, i think that gives you an idea of the situation that we're in from an intelligence point of view,s a absolutely vital. i understand you get down to different committees,let say the predator is taken out of the jurisdiction of the intelligence and put in to military. that transfers the jurisdiction to armed forces. let say it's used in some way that brings the jurisdiction to this committee. so i think we now have to look at that arena, and make some decisions as to the administration being more forthcoming with the legal advice that underpins law making. >> yeah. [applause] please don't -- would you agree? >> yeah.
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i have to say that i have heard you, the president has heard you, and others that raised the concern on both sides of the aisle. i think that you will hear from the president in a relatively short period of time is -- i don't want to preexample this. we talk about a need for greater transparency in what we share, what we talk about. because i'm confident that if the american people had access to, for instance, and some of the stuff cannot be shared. i understand that. at least be represented as the american people had the ability of members of the intelligence committee had to see some of the olc opinion that would be a greater degree of comfort people have to understand that the government does the things reluctantly, but also we do it in conformity with international law, and domestic law, and with our values as of the american people. and so i think there is going to be a greater effort at the
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transparency. a number of steps are going to be taken, i exec you will hear the president speaking about this. >> yes. i think so. right now we have someone exercising a hole on john brennon who said, you know, what we're talking about is you're eating dinner in your house, you're eating at the cafe and walking down the road and this -- in this country and can be targeted for elimination. i don't believe that is true. i don't believe it's correct. i think it really, you know, it's one thing after the major attack for 9/11 like we saw brave people take.name a plane because they heard that the planes were being crashed to buildings and there was a likelihood that this one was going crash to the united states capitol. and so people on the plane took it down.
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tounge some engs tend it's something we have to grapple with in a legal way as well. but in reading the opinions that i have just read, i believe they are very sound opinions. i have also read the opinions from the bush administration, one of which was withdrawn by the bush administration and two of which were withdrawn by the obama administration. they are not, in my view, good opinions. they were opinions designed to provide whatever the president or the administration was asking for. i think this is where transparency is important. that years after we have an opportunity to look and make judgments as to whether our democracy and our values are being operated by the executive in a proper manner.
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>> i mean, as i said, i think there's a greater need for transparency. a greater need for appropriately sharing information, and we are struggling with how to do that. it is something that the president feels strongly about. as i said, over the next few months, i think you will see an effort on the part of the administration to be more transparent. >> thank you. senator cruz is next on my list. and then senator whitewhite house. >> thank you, senator feinstein. i would like to address three areas. i would like to start with the topic you were discussing. the topic of drones. in your response to senator paul yesterday, you suggested there may be circumstances in which it is per missable -- permissible to target u.s.
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citizens on u.s. soil. i would like to explore the circumstances inspect particular, you pointed to two. you pointed to pearl harbor and 9/11, both of which were extreme military attacks on the homeland. i want to ask a more specific question. if an individual is citing quietly at the cafe in the united states, in your legal judgment, does the constitution allow a u.s. citizens on u.s. soil to be killed by a drone? >> for sitting in a cafe and having a cup of coffee. >> if the individual is not posing an imminent and immediate threat of death and bodily harm. does the constitution allow the drone to kill the person. >> i don't think you can arrest the person. >> he was a terrorist. he was involved in terrorist plots. at the moment not pointing at gun at the pentd pentagon, the
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united states government uses drone when they are walking down the street. it a u.s. citizens on u.s. soil is not posing an immediate threat to life or bodily harm, does the constitution allow a drone to kill the citizens? >> i continue think it would be an appropriate use of leathful force. we would deal that in a way that we typical deal with it. >> my question wasn't about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. it was a simple legal question. does the constitution allow a u.s. citizens on u.s. soil who doesn't pose an imminent threat to be killed by the u.s. government? i do not believe that, again, -- all of the facts on the facts that you have begin me. that's a type theatrical. i would not think in "the situation" the use of a drone o-
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>> i find it remarkingble that in that hypothetical which is deliberately very simple you are unable to give a simple one word, one syllable answer no. i think it is unequivocal that if the u.s. government were to use a drone to take the life of a u.s. citizens on u.s. soil and that individual did not pose an imnet threat, that would be a depravation of life without due process. >> i said the use lethal force. >> you keep saying appropriate. my question isn't about proprity. my question is whether something is constitutional or not. ..
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>> well, i am glad. after much gymnastics come i am very glad to share that it is independent of the department of justice that it would be unconstitutional to kill u.s. citizen on u.s. soil is that individual did not pose an imminent threat. that statement has not been easily forthcoming. i wish you hadn't given that statement in response to senator paul's letter asking you it. i will point out that this week i will be introducing legislation in the senate to make clear that the u.s. government cannot kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil, absent an
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imminent threat. i hope that this on that representation that the department will support that legislation. >> that is totally consistent with the letter that i sent to senator paul. i talked about 9/11 and pearl harbor. those are the instances where i said it might possibly be considered. other than that, we would use our normal law enforcement authority in order to resolve situations along those lines, those are normal things that you do when you are trying to decide if someone can -- >> i would like to move on from the politicized enforcement of the law in the department of justice. in 2010, congress heard evidence that the department of justice declined to enforce voter intimidation laws. against members of the new black panther party. in 2011, the department of justice released a statement of the department would no longer defend the constitutionality of the defense of marriage act,
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with content which passed with bipartisan majorities, and was signed into law by president bill clinton. last year in 2012, the department of homeland security announced it would no longer in force our nation's immigration laws against individuals designated by the president. my question to you is are there any other laws passed by this congress that the department of justice does not intend to enforce? >> it is the tradition of the department who always enforce laws where there is a reasonable basis to argue for the enforcement of those laws. i have sent memos or letters to the speaker of the house. i believe that is where the letters go to where we have declined to support laws and enforce laws that congress has passed for a variety of reasons. i will note that where we decline to defend that statute that the courts subsidy has
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agreed applied that standard of certainty, it is not something yet. >> he said that courts agreed on the merits of the issue and that is very different from saying that there is no reasonable basis to defend the statute, which is what he suggested was the standard. it is not the department's position that every case in which the department might lose a case, it will not tend to the statute. while process does the department engage in to determine what federal laws that will follow and which of them untenable not? >> it is the rare instance where we make the determination that we will not. doma was one of those. and as i said, courts have in fact agreed with that determination. >> let me briefly address one other area. much attention has focused on
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the "fast and furious" program and the tragic consequences of that. was the white house involved in any way whatsoever in decision-making concerning "fast and furious"? >> note. >> given night, last year faster my understanding is you had asserted executive privilege against handing over documents concerning "fast and furious." it protects communications and advice with the president. his executive privilege applies to those documents, it necessarily implies that the white house and president personally was involved. to which of the two is that? >> the president, the white house got involved in the component. certainly interactions and
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conversations between the justice department and the white house about the operations after all of the artifacts had occurred, put the controversy and the controversial actions had been taken. we got into a situation where we were talking about the congressional investigations of "fast and furious", there were communications between the white house and justice department. >> do i understand you correctly? my time has expired. i would like to ask if it's your position of executive privilege only became public with subsequent communications, but there is no executive privilege that is applicable before i because if you just a minute ago, the white house was not involved in any way, shape or form with fast and furious. >> it protects medications between the white house and the executive branch agency. to my knowledge, there are no communication to deal with the operational components of "fast
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and furious" between the white house and justice department. >> so executive privilege does not apply? >> there is nothing therefore to apply to you. as best as i know. >> thank you, general. >> thank you, chairman. welcome, general holder. thank you for the initial statement that the administration has made with an ongoing separation of powers. i know that there will be a lot of work ahead of us to work out the details of that, but i think it is an important step for the administration and thank you for your work on the cyberexecutive order, which was a vital step, that we did not pass legislation to address this pressing issue before, i think senator graham here, we are working on supplementing the executive order with bipartisan legislation and i think it is vital for our country. let me chime in on another
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briefing. the question of letters that we would like to get a response to a request for the record, it was made last june when you were last here. >> just to be fair, it's not only omb. there are problems with in the department where we need to be more responsive. but it is also regarding equity and it is not strictly own beat. >> one year to another is a long time to get an answer. >> i would agree with that. we are looking forward to having a hearing on the resources of the department and the strategy of the department on cyberprosecutions and on the actions against botnets.
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i understand that there have been awards given to the participants, which i commend you for. but i would've thought that this would have been a hygienic type of legal effort to clean this up out of the web and it doesn't seem to have been pursued as a model strategy. to my knowledge, the cyberprosecution brought against a hacker like we know that china is doing, that comes in strictly through the web, expropriate the intellectual property and uses it essentially as industrial espionage. i know that there have been cases made for espionage and sometimes and involve cyber,
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like a cd in their pocket leaving the factory. so i think that anyone who has been in the trenches understands how immensely complicated and resource intensive these cases are. i think at a time of diminishing budgets and budget pressures, it's important that we focus what is required to make these cases and how important. i would would like to ask your analogy would be willing to work with us and send appropriate doj officials to such a hearing? >> we certainly will. i think that interaction could be useful as we explain these cases and the issues that we had. frankly, we are better doing the cases and i think that kind of interaction would be something we would certainly send witnesses to. >> i appreciate it.
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similarly we are looking at the enforcement of campaign finance laws. there appears to be a considerable discrepancy between many of the applications that are made to the irs for status and the behavior of this acting in the political world. we would like to look a little bit further back. again, we would like to ask the cooperation of the department with a witness at a hearing to look into that question. >> yes, again we will be glad to participate in that we have, as one of our responsibilities, the campaign-finance laws and there is an election crimes section within this division and this is something that we do.
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we would be more than glad to interact with you and have a hearing in that regard. >> the last thing that i will raise is my cranial concern that the margolis memorandum needs to be retracted by the department. it is a continuing burr under my saddle that we could expect of the members of the department of justice, particularly the office of legal counsel who are often the best and the brightest that the profession has. they are onto a supreme court seat or clerkship. they are immensely talented people. the notion that they don't have to meet the same standards of diligence and candle in hustling into the courthouse and
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providence with five files under his arm, that is something that i am just going to continue to press onto until that gets resolved. so i will mention that to you and we continue to follow it. every time a person from the department of justice comes to see me, whatever candidates for nomination, i wanted to bring it up again now. i know that it brought a revolution to a very unhappy period in the department's past. but i think it did so by cutting a corner that should not have been cut. i think that the standards of the department should be higher than those. >> thank you very much. i appreciate very much your service and i look with dismay at what is happening prior to the tenure. and my sources within the department, continue to express
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pride and
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we are actively involved in seeking american citizens support. in every war that we have had, unfortunately american citizens have cited with the enemy and that does happen. is that correct? >> it does happen occasionally. we had american citizens helping german saboteurs who tried to blow up infrastructure and are evenly without? >> those cases were tried by
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townhall. so it is a long-standing proposition and american law than american citizen who joins the forces of enemies can be considered an enemy combatant. you agree that? >> yes. >> the point i'm trying to make is that hypothetically if there are those around us capital and key government infrastructures to protect the capital from an attack, it would be lawful for those to launch. is that correct? >> yes. >> to launch them against the threat. if there was intelligence of the airplane was coming toward the capitol or white house, that it had been hijacked. >> oh, okay, i see. >> it would be an imminent threat under the constitution and the authorization to use military force against al qaeda,
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is that correct? >> yes. >> when we say congress gave every administration, we did not exempt the homeland, did we? >> no, i do not think that we did would not be not good if they say we cannot defend america here under the appropriate circumstances? >> i totally agree with you that the likelihood of capture is very high in america. we have a lot of law enforcement agencies available, and that we would put them out front. but certainly, most law enforcement agencies that i know of don't have patriot missiles and that is a good example to protect the homeland against the terrorist act that law enforcement can't. >> that would be the rare case.
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in a lender that i sent to senator paul, that is why i reference to september 11. >> let's go back in time. what would we all get to have those patriot missile batteries available on september 10, 2001? in the city of new york and washington? >> it would have meant that we would have lost a plane load of american citizens, but saved thousands more. that's the world in which we live in. i want to stand by you and the president to make sure that we don't criminalize the war and that the commander-in-chief continues to have the authority to protect us all, and i have a lot of my colleagues were well-meaning. but there is only one commander chief in our constitution. >> that is true. the situation that you describe with september 11, it was among the most difficult decisions that vice president cheney had to give that order. >> i want you to know from senator graham's point of view
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that you have the authority and the authorization to use military force to take such action. about where the war is going, you think the al qaeda threat is over? >> know, the al qaeda threat traditionally, core al qaeda has been greatly weakened, but there is al qaeda in different places that we have to be concerned with. >> what would your message be to any american citizens thinking about collaborating with al qaeda to attack the united states at home or abroad, what would you say to them? >> if you align yourself, you do it at your risk. and you are in fact taking arms against your nation and you will be subject to the full weight of
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the american military. >> and law enforcement community. >> yes, law enforcement community as well. i believe that article three courts have a robust role and i also want to say to military commissions, that they have their place as well. you agree with that statement? >> sure, yes. >> let's turn to a topic where we won't agree. this committee will be taking up legislation about banning assault weapons. are you familiar with the gun the turn to? >> yes, i think i might have shot one at the fbi academy. >> are you aware that over 4 million americans have purchased these weapons? >> i know it's a very popular weapon. >> any weapon can be dangerous. can you imagine a circumstance where a ar-15 would be a better defense told in a double barrel
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shotgun? >> what do you mean? >> let's say we have a lawless environment, some catastrophic event in a lawless environment. those things unfortunately do happen. and law and order breaks down because the police cannot travel, there's no communication. and they have armed groups running around neighborhoods. do you think that a ar-15 would be better than a double barrel shotgun? >> you are dealing with a hypothetical. >> you don't have to agree with me. i would prefer in ar-15. >> are you dealing with a hypothetical world? >> i think it does exist. it existed in new orleans, or if there is a cyberattack and the power grid goes down and the dams were released and chemical plants are discharging.
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>> i don't think new orleans would've been better served by having the guns ar-15 in the post-hurricane katrina environment. >> in the crosshairs of the gangs that were roaming around, i think the ar-15 is better than to protect my family and a double barrel shotgun. >> can ask just one more question, sir? >> yes, i promise. there was 76,142 people who failed a background check in 2010. 19.1%, 13,862 were denied and fill the background check because they were fugitives from justice. literally on the run from the law. what happened how many of those fugitives were apprehended as a result of failing a background
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check to buy a gun? >> i don't know what the numbers are, but i can tell you that in each of the cases, they are individually examined and determinations made as to whether or not prosecutions are possible. if you're talking about someone who is a fugitive, i would agree. >> i would suggest that 13,862 people, only 62 were prosecuted in less than that number were convicted. honestly we have some work to do >> there have been a lot of questions about drones in the u.s. this committee is holding a hearing on domestic drones part
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in it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you. i want to thank general holder for the department of justice's action in this case? it was a brave and powerful statement of the departments committee for laws for all people. in your testimony, you talked about the department civil suit against s&p. you said that you are seeking at least $5 billion in damages for alleged conduct that is part of the recent economic crisis i think because of the basic conflict of interest
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, where the issuer of the security chooses and pave, one of the big three, it was, movies, s&p, and to some degree fitch. and that the ratings agencies gave out ratings of junk because they wanted to keep the business. in the doj case, aren't they are, as part of the evidence, arthur e-mails between people at s&p saying what we know. >> i don't want to go beyond, since it's a pending case. those kinds of e-mails are contained in the indictment. >> this is a statement about the
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lawsuit. s&p falsely represented that its ratings were uninfluenced by the s&p relationship with investment banks when, in actuality, s&p's desire for increased revenue and market share have favored the interest of these banks over investors. >> we believe our evidence will show that. >> okay. now, you say that this goes to the heart of the recent economic crisis. his and not because once they ran out of mortgages to securitize, and subprime mortgages, they started doing bets on the bets. and they gave those triple-a ratings. is that correct? >> i am not an expert, but when you start talking about the deaths on debts, that is in fact
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correct. but i am not an economist or a financial guide. >> yes, i understand that. >> if they hadn't given triple-a derivatives, derivatives on derivatives. >> get away from the s&p case, i think the assertions that you are making are in fact correct that the financial system made bets on that. i'm not talking about s&p now. >> i'm not asking you to testify as an expert on finance. liz engine was part why our economy labs and the credit
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agencies. they knew if they gave a triple-a rating, they would get more business. that is essentially what the case is about. >> we basically said in the dodd-frank, that we give the fcc the ability to address that it passed in a bipartisan way, 64 votes. it got to the conference and became a study that said that if the sec fined for this conflict of interest still exists, that they will address that conflict of interest and get rid of it. that has happened. and i think that that is absolutely crucial that the ftc
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act on that. i wanted to just use your testimony to get on my soapbox. but i think it is absolutely crucial. >> i want to ask you about an entirely different matter. almost 14,000 children arrived at our borders alone. ..
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should be transferred out of hhs and into the department of justice. i'm considering this proposal closely. do you support doing us? >> we certainly want to work with you in ways that ensure children do in fact have legal representation. if this is something that are housed in the justice department, that something were willing to consider. we should not simply give this responsibility to the justice department as part of the immigration reform package they are considering. that would be something inexcusable. six, 7-year-olds have immigrations made and are not represented by counsel.
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it's not the way we do things. >> i hope our offices can work together on this, because you're absolutely right. it's unconscionable. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator franken. senator grassley. >> once again, thank you for coming up here. i want to follow up on your response to senator cruise and i think he talked about introducing a bill. do you believe congress has the constitutional authority are hitting the president's ability to use strong aircraft for lethal force against american citizens on u.s. soil? and if not, why not? >> do i think the congress has the ability to pass a bill? >> the legislation -- congress has the constitutional authority to pass a law prohibiting the presidents of utility to use
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lethal force against american citizens on u.s. soil. >> i'm not sure such a bill would be constitutional. that might run contrary to the powers the president has. i would have that concern. >> okay. your basis is because of article ii? >> i believe so, yes. >> one last question in that area. given the belief it would be caught to two chanel to use lethal force against american citizens on u.s. soil and an instant his eyes he said, with that theory extend to permitting the executive branch to use enhanced interrogation techniques on u.s. soil to avoid a catastrophic event? >> outthink enhanced interrogation as those have been defined should ever be used against anybody for any purpose. they are inconsistent with how we think of ourselves as a
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nation. they don't work. >> on another issue in regard to his letter you wrote to chairwomen that close gave him the budget control act and cutting one in six to billion for the current funding level, which it has serious consequences for the communities across the nation, end of quote. the detail suggested for about 775 special legions. the most important assets to the agencies blog for a nation. but the reality is as of yesterday the department of justice is advertising over 100 job openings on jobs website. these include positions such as supervisor, tunnel hygienists come a long common over 50 attorney positions with the
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memorandum was issued by a lobbyist or a nation states. so i'm skeptical about your prescription of severe negative impacts on the department including the estimated loss of federal agents tightening national security. further your letter failed to cut expenditures which more than doubled returning to designate, 2010 and filled their productions or other non-mission expenditures. and leading up to it as high-priority when it comes to sequester. how do you reconcile the fact the department is recruiting for hundreds of positions in putting books and tunnel hygienists, but yet you threaten to further 775 fbi agents working on violent crime national security? >> that's a good question. we have to certainly parallel
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fbi agents. what they've told the people the department is hiring has to stop. it does not mean we should stop the process of going through the interview symbolic that some in the sequestration is over as we have an ability to absurd traditions. we want to be on the position of sequestration to have people in line to take positions that might be available. it won't be anyone in the department of justice will sequestration is in effect. i made that clear to head to the components. you can do the interviews and maybe have a person you want to put in place once were on the other side of sequestration. >> how does your direction to the chairwoman of play with our lease memo tasking agencies to minimize cuts to the nation likes the in-house concerns? >> all were talking about is
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interviewing people and making sure these are potentially people you might want to hire the costs are minimal. >> how about cutting the 700 or so fbi agents, how does that comport with the memo about 1:00 p.m. in amazing cuts to agency like safety and health concern? >> we have flexibility in which the sequester is instruct it. the components of the department is little or nothing i can do is let the fbi has to take in terms of the cut and we are -- the resources we have come in the money the department of justice is in our people. we don't have airplanes. we don't fight huge amounts of planes. we don't have planes take the defense department. when it comes to reducing cost, all i can do is basically furlough people and do things on the other side of conferences
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and things of that nature. we may have to reduce cost is with regard to for allowing our people, which will have a negative impact on our ability to do the job the american people expect us to do. >> and my letter last week i noted the memo requested to sequester proposals the department and i asked you for a copy of these prospects. would you provide the struck proposals so we can review what cuts the department requested and what ought be recognized and if you can't give it to us, why won't you give it to us? >> i don't understand your question. >> omb since she recommendations and you sent back what you're going to do. i want this document so i can compare what you recommended to what omb said should have a higher priority. >> it's called pass backs.
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>> i'm not sure what the administration's position has been in that. i would think correspondence between an agency and omb about decisional martyrs to be the kind we would seek to protect. >> let me on because my time is up with just a statement that i heard in an interview the people that ordered for the oscar, contempt effort against you that she didn't have respect for people like that. i wants you to know i'm extremely disappointed. i voted for you based on the fact that you get the benefit of the doubt and disregarding previous controversies. it seemed to be your recent comments such as the level partisanship in disregard for those who can be disagree is quite shocking and i don't think you should have said it and i think you are the people an. thank you.
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>> what i don't respect was the process. it was enough for it but had a predetermined result. whatever we can in good faith was not a political determination and that is a process i don't respect. the people who push it i people i don't respect because i don't think it was other cabinet members who had similar issues with congress when the gun lobby decided to score that out, then it was clear out the vote was going to turn out and it became something other than what it was portrayed to be about as a process they simply do not respect. >> why would you even take it up to give me the documents i wanted? >> history has shown in the past in much greater appeared of time for negotiations to occur. if you look at harriet irons and
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other people, you will see with which we were given to try to respond to negotiate with much, much shorter. was the desire to get to a certain point admit that they are. >> i agree with your answer. senator klobuchar. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, attorney general holder. i think i told you the other day senator lee and i are heading up the antitrust subcommittee and holding a hearing on the american u.s. airlines air merger. i know you can't talk about the details of the justice department right now, but i was wondering your views on the areas we will see more potential action in antitrust, whether it's transportation, health care industry, whether it is communication with a spin action
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in that area and what direction you see the department taking is antitrust. >> i think you've hit many areas that are focused. communications, anything specific we spent time and will continue spending time with airline mergers. health care. all things that impact the american consumers. what we try to do in the antitrust division is focused efforts in such a way that we benefit the american people with regard to lower prices, more competition and wherever we find the agricultural field, instances that there is collusion or inappropriate tv being taken the authenticated impact on the american consumer, we will be there. >> i look forward to that hearing. we also discussed the issue of metal such and this is something that's not on the tip of their time, but i seen increases over
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my state. senator hoven and i met in moorhead, minnesota. senator graham along with senator schumer to up some penalties on copper and other mammals are stolen from critical infrastructure. we see nearly a billion dollars in damage for cost per our country. the most striking example was 200 bronze stars were stolen from the grave of veterans and people are getting desperate to steal this battle. without electric companies broken into 10 times that experience hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage in one of the serious is people that died because taking one pipe that maybe only with a couple thousand dollars can do damage. just wanted you to comment on that.
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>> this is something that had not really entered my conscious because i've had a chance to talk to a couple people the department to indicate which he said was true. this is a growing problem and one that i think we need to devote resources to you. again, this is not simply notice frankly aware of. given the nature of the potential harm not only in the last, but the problem is that the task actually precipitates. how is how is physical enough, gas lines being ruptured, that this isn't being -- it's a new problem we have to focus on. >> briefly on this, i want you to know i'm continuing work on drug courts. i followed congressman jim moran said to develop this in the last
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congress about how joe creuset transforms the way we handle criminal cases. they're incredibly important as a prosecutor. we have a groundbreaking court and have one and had a pen federal courts are beginning to embrace drug courts for low-level nonviolent offenders. "the new york times" had drug program send connecticut, illinois, new hampshire and washington. if you want to comment briefly on that. >> we have to try to used records extensively. they generally proven to be successful. what we want to try to do is use the criminal justice system in an appropriate way. sometimes people have to go to jail. a great number of people need to kick their habit. if we can use the criminal justice -- the penalties of a criminal justice system as a hammer to keep out over people's heads to force them into and keep them in treatment, we have
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seen amazing success rates at a much lower recidivism rate. so ultimately saves us money over the long haul, reduces the crime rate and do something that is worthy of egregious support. >> we have one of the lower incarceration rates and we also have and the matcher area one of the lower crime rate. i think it's important and i hope you'll support in the administration will support continued funding. we do have bipartisan support for it. >> it's one of those areas where we have to understand whatever we invest upfront, were going to reap our money in savings down the road. the scientific evidence is clear. >> last thing i want to mention it's you and i were both in selma, alabama for that incredible week and i'm part of the weekend was the way police chief and not every handed over its batch saying he apologized for what happened 40 years ago,
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that the police department hadn't adequately protected lewis. he gave a beautiful speech on sunday and i wanted to follow-up with questions questions about that. we know the supreme court recently heard the voting rights act case. can you talk about the implication of a court decision for voting rights? >> i can't comment too much, but i will say the united states is a different place. the south is a different place and yet the need for section five is still evident if you look at the cases we brought in the last 18 months, two years or so in texas, south carolina, florida, the ability to pre-clear things estate wanted to do and the findings that supported the justice department's position is all an indication given the progress we have made if problems persist in section five, a critical part of
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the voting rights act should remain a tool we have the ability to use. >> also to know, i am reintroducing the registration bill. we have had in minnesota and we've been able to have elections at the highest if not the highest repeatedly. i do not feel it is a long-term long-term solution with voting rights. >> we need to try to expand the number of people who participate and make it as easy as it can be mindful of potential for fraud, victor, with razor portable registration, you know come expanding the number of days in which people can cast ballots. that is the thing that defines this nation, our ability to go, our ability to shape the congress that represents us on the state level as well. at the people decide the future of our nation and efforts to
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restrict the vote has to be thought at first to expand the bow, the ability of people to vote have to be supported. hispanic thank you for your good work. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, general holder for joining us. last month i joined bipartisan senators for an in memory and he might have to provide legal justification of american citizens using drugs. this senior intelligence officials indicated your department of legal counsel had prepared written but non-public opinions that articulate the basis for that authority. notwithstanding the request, neither i or other members of this committee have received the llc memorandum.
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somebody indicated earlier during this meeting that they thought that memo, the the llc now know might've been linked. what has been late isn't being released by nbc news. i note that only because it carries a heavy nbc news watermark on it. it provides a more condensed analysis of what's available on the doj office of legal counsel memoranda. first on the memoranda, don't you think this committee has an important oversight role for the department of justice ruled this analysis? >> i do when i heard the committee expressed the desire to see these memoranda and i will be careful here, but i will be bringing that to the
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attention of appropriate people within the administration. i'm not unsympathetic to which you are saying. >> you are the attorney general and i understand your respect with airbus has to say. are you single make that available to estes never said the judiciary committee? >> will bring that desire in my view to those who are in a position to make this kind of determination. >> can understand. you do have clients within the government. i would strongly urge you to make a pitch quickly and forcefully as you can. it's important to review that if members of the judiciary committee, which has oversight over your department. one of the reasons that are so important as i've reviewed this legal counsel, not sure where within the department this came from, but i review it raises more questions in my mind than
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it answers. the gist of this white paper as they see it says that the u.s. government may in fact target and kill american citizens using drugs with were there isn't imminent threat to national security to the united states, citizens, installations and so forth. that is a fairly familiar standard. it is somewhat standard familiar and the law. mr. redon in this white paper, it becomes apparent to me that the definition of an immense used in this paper is different than almost any other definition i've seen. in fact, on page seven of the white paper, the white paper go so far to suggest that an immense doesn't need to involve anything imminent. this condition but an operational leader present an
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imminent threat against the united states does not require the united states to have clear evidence that a specific attack on interests will take place in the immediate future. i have two ask, what is in the nets mean if it doesn't have to involve something the media? >> yeah, part of the problem is what you talked about in the previous question. i think the white paper becomes more clear if it can be read in conjunction with the underlined olc advice. in the speech i gave it requester, i talked about a minute that incited inc. three fact there is, a relevant window to attack, the harm that would cause the civilians in dirt, likelihood of having a full-featured disastrous attacks against the united states. i do think without taking position, it is one of the
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strongest reasons why the sharing of the opinions, doc advice makes sense. >> you can understand my concern here is a lawyer who really knows a lot about these things, you understand that that could be manipulated would give americans a lot of pause. another reason for me to strongly encourage you to make that available. there are other aspects that triggered this concerned about that to give those as well. the white paper notes that the president must find in order for a troll attack to occur at the president must make a finding that the captured the individual is not feasible. but then the white paper goes on to state that capture is by operation of the memos analysis not feasible. if it could not be physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity.
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the paper makes no attempt to define what the relevant window of opportunity is, meaning it is whatever the president decides it is. you understand how that could be cause for concern. it's not opportunity for manipulation? >> there's a certain degree of object to be there in the sense that people become potentially capture bull and overseas venues at certain times. the window of opportunity ceases to exist when we move or lose track of them. so that i tend to understand. >> do i understand you saying the office of legal counsel memorandum, which we have not had the opportunity to review also provide further clarification of answer questions we have about the
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vagueness, overbreadth investing in their? >> that one i'm not sure. i'm just not sure. >> okay. i may just ask one other question on an unrelated point. in the last two months, members including assistant attorney general perez and yourself have stated the department of justice is considering reforms to the voter registration system. for example, it should be the governments responsibility to automatically register citizens to vote from databases that exist, a list of all eligible students. these and others like them can be read to suggest there might be an increased role for the federal government to play in voter registration. voter registration is something historically carried out by the states and so that raises
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federalism related concerns with regard to the state's traditional role in running elections in managing voter registration. is it the department stated that it has current statutory authority to promulgate regulations that would centralize voter registration the federal government or otherwise increase the role of voter registration? >> you might think the department of justice trying to incentivize states to come up with mechanisms so they would themselves come up with that think tom described. this is something that is the primary responsibility of the states. the federal government can help the states in the carrying out of that responsibility. >> you would agree it? authority to centralize voter registration? >> on the other hand are certain times of their statues that allow the federal government to
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become involved in election processes normally carried out by the states. >> i thank you, attorney general. and it thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator kearns. >> thank you, mr. chairman. great to be with you again. one question for the uniform to just asking about the targeted killing in question. i share the frustration and concern expressed by transparency and target killings. one specific question before we turn to other topics. what u.s.a. go forward support any form of judicial review in this context including the limited so we have, do you think i would move this forward? >> that is something worthy of conversation, consideration. i want to make sure the inclusion of a court did not for instance have some kind of
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inhibiting impact in the operations. but as john brant testified that his son and worthy of consideration that we have to think about potentially making apart of the decision-making process. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you on that. you can hear unanimous concern and wrestling forward in a way that protects our constitutional liberties and security at the nation. we just spent a great weekend together in selma. it was wonderful to meet your wife and hear her role in american history. as a flip of a happiness section five, i'm concerned about section five of the national voter registration act. something that isn't currently under review. i'm hoping the department is going to take up its enforcement
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obligations were actively. my sense is there's very few enforcement actions and did something that could make a positive contribution to registration and voter participation. the reason there hasn't been an active doj enforcement resource issue is heard about sequester another constraint for things we need to do to ensure this architecture is used where a way. >> we have taken certain actions and as well as louisiana, there's something going on in florida. these are matters that i'm not sure where i'm her and for him, but obviously i'm sure your system all the agencies they appear before you, we could use more when it comes to resources. this is a vital tool to increase
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the number of eligible citizens can go to make sure registration rolls are accurate in federal elections. this is something we want to be more involved in. one of the things in the civil rights division, my guess would be would like to do more, but i need more people. i think that's probably what he would say. >> would be happy to have that conversation. as he discussed with other members, should there be change in the status of section five in particular? i like to talk with others from going forward for expedited cases still get her and reauthorization are strengthening a replacement for the voting rights act. >> let's talk for another area where resources are critical issue and maybe a solution. an intellectual property,
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manufacturing relies as much as on pac-man for critical steps in manufacturing. there's been a barrage of missile and theft of american intellectual property. a firm called the indian released a report documenting widespread use of this property. the prosecutions around trade secrets has been very light and i understand limitations of resources. what a private right of action accelerate the assertion of rights and the abilities to pursue justice on behalf the american manufactures and inventors? >> is something we should talk about, discuss. they take in a direction where that is something we should do. i think what i'd like to do his work with you, have the
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appropriate people from the department sitdown and meet with your staff and talk about that possibility. i do think the fact of intellectual property trade secrets has a devastating impact on our economy that threatens our national security and is worthy of our attention. that is a problem getting large and larger. as you look over the horizon, this is an area we have to devote more attention. >> i think all of us on notice that is probably the single greatest widespread that going on at the moment it does have a negative cumulative impact. a few programs that have significant impact with a modest investment of resources have a positive impact on public safety. we were supposed to have a caucus today to hear testimony from kentucky and delaware about the reinvestment initiative.
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we flew some people in. unfortunately, to implement weather has led to its cancellation. bipartisan bills at the state level have led the federal partnership to catalytic investment in improving criminal justice systems. the partnership is sent and i value highly. i do police officer here a number of months ago shot twice at close range in the chest and survived two officers in the new castle county courthouse were used to serve life very recently. we should be reauthorizing. i look forward to working with you on that. last question in the same vein, the victims of child abuse act and child advocacy center funds are in a nervous resource law enforcement and prevent the victimization of children who have been traumatized by allowing them to be interviewed once in a way that's admissible as evidence in appropriate and
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has all the relevant folks there and present. the one i visited in new castle county, while the circumstances lead to these are tragic, the resource for community is terrific. it is zeroed out last year and i'm hoping i could rewind your support to the small but cumulatively powerful program in the fy total budget. any thoughts on the future child advocacy centers? >> i started to get disease center in washington d.c. i know the positive impact it has been child victims of crime. the decision to eliminate funding was a difficult one. that said issues of fiscal roosting ability were only consideration. the office of justice programs after he spoke to you has come up with ways in which they think they can prioritize grantmaking
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and training to help in that regard. i think as we look at the budget for the next see her that given the what we get from the advocacy pictures in relatively small amounts involved has to be a part of the next budget. i'm not satisfied with where we are now with regard to the present budget. i think that was a mistake. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you. i think we recognize that we have forced far too many just a dinner area having significant negative impact to strengthen our communities and infrastructure and i look forward to finding a broader solution. i'm grateful for your service. >> thank you.
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>> senator grassley. [inaudible] >> senator blumenthal. >> good morning, attorney general holder. thank you for your leadership of the department of justice in area so important. voting rights, dolma and other areas critical to the future of justice in this country. i want to thank both you and the president for your leadership on gun violence prevention, especially to the people of britain who are still grieving and hurting and your personal involvement in trying to ease those continuing trauma that still affect them as recently as yesterday in a telephone conversation. want to focus for the moment on gun violence prevention. as a law enforcement professional, not just attorney
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general, but one who has been a judge and prosecutor, this whole idea of existence was his one week react to the core and the core analysis for any prosecutor. and get enforcement of some of these laws is impeded by gaps in those laws such as the absence of background checks on firearms, which now enables 40% of all purchases to go without any check whatsoever. you would agree with that, with new? >> or loopholes as we've come to describe them to make the enforcement of existing laws extremely difficult and render those existing laws not nearly as effective as they might otherwise read. >> those laws now prohibit purchases of firearms by categories of people, convicted felons, fugitives, drug addicts
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and abusers, purchases of firearms and ammunition. both firearms and ammunition. right now there are no background checks as to purchases of ammunition. none whatsoever. as a matter of common sense as well as as well as law enforcement professionalism, i think you would agree those laws are veteran forest with background checks as to ammunition purchases. would you agree? >> i'd like to discuss this with you some more. one of the concerns i have is a resource concern. i think theoretically what you're talking about makes a lot of sense. i don't mean to diminish. that would have a very real positive impact.
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my only concern is the system be overburdened and making sure we have the resources to do that. >> a way of background, i have asked two of the u.s. attorneys who have been is an aggressive enforcers of these laws, u.s. attorney, for example, whether these can be enforced without background checks and ammunition to pull both of us without a background check now, do you have any way of enforcing that law, prohibition and ammunition purposes? >> no. >> so when you were asked by my colleagues, why are you more aggressively enforcing these laws? why don't we have more prosecutions, the very simple answer is there's no real way to
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enforce these bands and ammunition purchases or firearms purchases unless there's background checks. i understand and recognize and sympathize with your point about resources. it were serious about these laws to keep ammunition and firearms out of the hands of criminals, we need to bolster that system so we make this was something more than a charade and a feel-good turnovers on a statue. >> survey, senator. as part of the plan the administration has proposed a vote by resources, to make greater use of the system and make by resources available that can be used in a way to support existing laws. those people who constantly say you have to enforce the laws don't give us the tools to enforce this very laws. >> exactly.
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i want to thank you and the president for your commitment on resources and say as the major proponent of the background check provision for ammunition, and looking for ways to modify this proposal so as to perhaps make a voluntary and give licensed dealers the access they need to the system. as you know right now, they are barred from checking. they see somebody common, a potential adam landsat by hundreds of rounds of 233 caliber ammunition have no way of checking whether he is a drug abuser, domestic abuse, convicted felons, fugitives, anyone in those categories. they simply are at a loss for basic information to try to protect the public. the best intentioned can't hope to help you enforce the law.
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so i am hoping they can work together on this provision. a repeat, am sympathetic to the resource issue. if you were my essay alone, those resources would be available right now. >> would see if we can work something out so you have that ability. >> with a move to another subject. i appreciate your answers on that one. wrongful foreclosures, particularly military mortgage holders have been recent reports, most recently a few days ago in "the new york times," 700 members of the military had homes seized and other borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments. those improper evictions
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dwarfing the numbers that were previously known. a sign of a larger prop on, you find the recent settlement may have been based on incorrect, perhaps untruthful information, in my view, more than ample basis under the rico statute or wrongful improper statements under federal punishable criminally. i would like your commitment to work with me and others fear of the possibility of an investigation based on those disclosures that undermine the good faith and fairness of that settlement in the government's involvement. >> all make that commitment. i sat there with regard to servicemembers, i did a tape last week for something for veterans to make them aware of
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more basic fraud that too often goes unreported for a whole variety of reasons to encourage them to share information of the chain of command and also to make sure there's a mac and a son from the defense department to justice department, we are made aware of trends that might exist along the ones you are describing. and nobody will -- i will work with you on that. >> thank you. one final area that is and should be of interest to you. assault in the military is prosecuted and punished under its own system and yet, it is a predatory criminal i said in my view should be punished with a severity and aggressiveness that is lacking right now. as a member of the armed
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services committee, i am seeking to help increase the completeness and fairness of the system to protect men and women from assault, sometimes the most severe sexual assault manageable. you have resources as a prosecutor, obviously the best prosecutors and investigative agents in the whole country. i would again respectfully ask your commitment that you hope the senate armed services committee with your expertise and commitment to prosecution of these laws. >> those are primarily the responsibility of the defense department. secretary panetta focused attention on that. i suspect secretary hagel was slow. we want to do all that we can.
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we think about the young people who put their lives on the line in service to our nation. young women in particular look at the numbers that you see repeatedly here after year and that's an extremely disturbing gang and as a result of that you become the time of a sexual assault that is simply not acceptable. >> i want to make clear that by asking for your assistance is not to in any way disparage or denigrate the good faith and offers a secretary hagel and the joint chiefs about the military leadership to making the system work better. they are in my view thoroughly committed to that goal. thank you. >> it has been any time i call for attorney general holder on any issue, we been in contact
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almost immediately can i do appreciate that. i appreciate the senators who come here today. i think it's up to half an inch now as somebody that senator klobuchar coming, senator grassley -- i haven't heard a report where they said he has a weather report with an expected dusting of snow in no more than five or six inches in other news today. of course five or six inches down here would be interesting a presidential press conference. senator grassley has one more question and then we'll wrap up. >> this won't take seven minutes. i didn't run over seven minutes.
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we've had several people run over three minutes. on the issue of big prosecution, i'm concerned we have a mentality of today to jail and the financial sector is spreading from fraud cases to money laundering case is an hsbc. i think we're on a slippery slope. that is background for this question. i don't have a recollection of doj prosecuting any high profile financial criminal convictions in either companies or individuals. assistant attorney general brewer said one recent white doj has not brought these prosecutions is that it reaches out to experts to see what effect the prosecutions would have on the financial market.
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so january 29, senator brown and i requested details on who the so-called experts sorry. so far we have not received any information. maybe you're going to, but why have we not yet been provided the names of the experts doj consoles as we requested january 29 because we need to find out why we aren't having the father. >> will answer your letter, senator. we did not retain experts outside of the government and determinations with hsbc. the concern you raise is one that i frankly shared. maybe that would not be appropriate. i am concerned the size of some of these institutions become so
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large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are headed with indications that if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps the world economy and i think that is a function of the fact that these institutions have become too large. i think it has been inhibiting influence on our ability to bring resolutions that i think would be more appropriate in madison pain you all need to consider. so the concern you raise is actually one that i share. >> do you believe the investment bankers who were repackaging and selling bad mortgages were committing a criminal fraud?
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or is it a case of not being aggressive to prove they did something fraudulent and criminal? >> we looked at those cases and thus appropriately aggressive, these are not easy cases to make. you sometimes look at these cases since the yanks were done wrong and the question is whether or not they were illegal. ii think the people are criminal division and attorney's office has been as aggressive as they could be, brought cases where we think we could have brought them. i know in some instances that has not been a satisfying answer to people, though we have as i said as we could have been. >> if you constantly showing in jail as ceo of major corporation sends a pretty wide signal to
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activity they think they can get away with. >> you are absolutely right, the greatest effect is not the prosecution of those that support. the greatest effect is to prosecute those responsibilities please do not and we try to do that whenever we can. but the point you make is a good one. >> thank you. again, i appreciate you being here. i'll probably see you at the violence against women act tomorrow. we had to leave out for procedural reasons, the visa is important to law enforcement. i hope you'll work with us on immigration reform because that would complete the whole legislation. it would protect the guns, but
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would also have law enforcement a better chance of prosecuting people who have shown violent against women. >> wrister chairman, thank you for your leadership. >> you are there every step of the way in the fact that we were able to get strong bipartisan help and i know the senator from minnesota talk to a lot of people on the other side of the aisle said it was nice to have senators do things together on both sides of the aisle and the country is better off for it. we stand in recess. >> with the public have the right to know how many civilians have been killed in air. they want to know why you allow signature strikes to keep it on the basis that it could negate and refuge workers.
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payback from pakistan in that family would've lost a loved one. 176 children -- how can they say that political? what about al-awlaki equates to 60 alfred denver, u.s. citizen with drone strikes. was he a high level al qaeda operative? who's going to pay for that mistake? attorney general holder, we have the right to get answers for this. the drug killings in our name. >> three out of four americans killed by mistake you've admitted. three out of four americans who admitted killed by mistake. >> every military age men killed by a drunk strike is a militant? on may 29, 2012, senator feinstein was unaware.
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>> every male of military age -- [inaudible] >> the precedent we are spending is that military progress. we get to say something because during the hearing -- [inaudible] 4700 people in countries where we are not at war. we need to stop testifying drones strikes. for making more enemies than we are killing. we are opening new drones bases in places like saudi arabia. this program is a national
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security threat we are citizens speaking up for national security because our government is making us more hated around the world, which will mean more attacks against us. >> target assassinations is not what this country stands for. this is an outrage against our way of life. >> it's time to get some oversight in these hearings. they don't even have access to the public documents written by the attorney general's office, how are they supposed to do any kind of oversight? >> senator leahy said he was disappointed. why does any issue a subpoena? >> the president wants more transparency. who is it about the president
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keeping a small mouse from the committees that are supposed to do oversight. >> they approved the pressure works and not pressure doesn't work. for more than a year they asked for these. the ministration didn't get that. then when they said they were going to hold that brennan's confirmation, the administration handed over the madness. senator leahy want the memos, he has to issue a subpoena. >> the public needs this madness. i want to know why this administration is going to be the most transparent of illustration i say give them the information they need. we the public want to see these madness. we want to see how they are justified, the fact they can kill americans, but
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non-americans. will we acknowledge those mistakes? will someone be held accountable for those mistakes? as will continue and especially we want to know why the cai has the right to use strauss. the military or cassation, shouldn't have the authority for lethal weapons. >> killing americans, senator lindsey graham who wanted the torture memo proponent now is f
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